Delving into data science and beyond

Big data is the next frontier for innovation, competition and productivity, according to McKinsey Global Institute. Researchers at McKinsey say the amount of data is expanding rapidly across every sector, and huge power lies in harnessing the insights it can provide.

This week our Master's candidates began to understand the reality of this, learning about the various aspects of data science with experts in the field. Over the course of the week, specialists and guest speakers shed light on what it takes to truly utilise big data - from collating data, to creating visual representations, to analysing what it's telling us, to taking these insights and actioning change.

Demystifying data science

Our in-house experts, Farhad Mehdipour and Aaron Schiff, gave the group foundational knowledge of key concepts with sessions on tools and techniques as well as hands-on activities.

A handful of special guests came into the Tech Futures Lab headquarters and helped to flesh out these ideas, bringing the concepts to the real world. Andrew Cathie, chief data scientist at Harmoney, showed how he and his team use data to drive NZ's first peer-to-peer lender, while Angie Judge, CEO of Dexibit, shared what it takes to create a globally successful business in 18 months, and the ins and outs of museum data.

Taking a look at the bigger picture

Every morning, before delving into the topic at hand, we took an opportunity to step back and look at the bigger impact of emerging and disruptive technologies.

This week we watched a discussion about universal basic income, hosted by the World Economic Forum and involving perspectives from around the globe. They posed the question, is a basic income for all a dream or delusion?

We also looked at where New Zealand stands on a global stage, and the risks and opportunities of launching a business here. Later in the week Truman Pham and Darcy Vo, Online Educators at The Mind Lab by Unitec, shared their view on how technology is re-shaping everyday life in Vietnam after a recent trip to the country.

Our fireside chats this week saw John Ferguson, NZTE Customer Manager, and Chong Looi, Datacom General Manager of Cloud Services, come in and talk about AI, cloud, 'the third platform' and how the business world is responding to the technological changes taking place today.

Taking these ideas and running with them

All of these teachings and conversations are informing the candidate's personal projects, which are slowly but surely beginning to take shape.

As the group eases into the programme and becomes familiar with each other, their area of focus and what compels them most becomes more apparent. When a group discussion takes place it quickly becomes a lively sharing of perspectives - we can't wait to see what this group goes on to create.

Coming up next week

Next week is all about the sharing economy and crowdsourcing, as well as new business models that are disrupting traditional companies. We have some very inspiring individuals coming in to speak about these topics and more. Follow us on Twitter to find out who these speakers are and keep up to date with our Master's candidates.

If you want to know more about the programme click here or get in touch with the team.


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Tech Futures Lab is an education facility of The Mind Lab, a NZQA registered Tertiary Education Organisation under the provisions of the Education Act 1989. Candidates who are studying on a programme delivered by Tech Futures Lab are enrolled with The Mind Lab.

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